By Chris King • 13 March 2022 • 0:37
Image of Ryanair aircraft.
Image: Ryanair Press Office
Budget airline Ryanair today, Saturday, March 12, announced that it is having to cut 5,000 flights to Portugal from its summer schedule for 2022. This has arisen as the result of an ongoing dispute involving landing slots at Lisbon‘s Portela Airport.
Due to this action, the airline will also reduce the number of its aircraft based in Lisbon down to four, from its current seven. In total, the cuts will affect 19 airports with regular Ryanair connections to the Portuguese capital, including those from Bournemouth and Birmingham in the United Kingdom.
Flights to Lisbon from the Spanish airports of Alicante, Madrid, Lanzarote, and Tenerife are also affected. An estimated 900,000 passengers across Europe will be hit by this move.
Portuguese airline TAP is at the heart of this matter. “TAP’s continued blocking of landing slots, which TAP cannot, and will not, use at Lisbon Portela this summer”, is the issue. Ryanair is believed to have already requested the Portuguese authorities to release these landing slots many times.
These cancellations will cost an estimated €250million in potential tourism revenue for Lisbon this summer says the airline, with around 150 jobs in the aviation sector in jeopardy as well. The airline “deeply regret all these unnecessary disruptions to passengers on these cancelled flights”, commented Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair CEO.
Mr O’Leary described TAP’s blocking of the landing slots as “anti-competitive”, and, “to the detriment of the Lisbon economy”. He added that his company still hopes to rectify the problem, and reinstate the three aircraft and 19 routes in time for the start of the winter season in October.
Passengers who had already booked any of the cancelled flights will receive an email this week. They will be offered alternative flights to or from Lisbon, or a full refund of their money.
This comes as a blow to travellers just as the coronavirus travel restrictions were being relaxed. Portugal is a popular destination for British holidaymakers, and the country is now on the list of destinations that double-jabbed travellers can visit without the need for a negative PCR test, along with the other Portuguese territories of Porto Santo, and Madeira.
Travellers to Portugal should note that as with France and Spain, if your second jab was completed more than 270 days before departure then you will need the booster shot as well before being allowed entry, as reported by mirror.co.uk.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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This is not good news for the economy, we all know its not easy at the moment but restricting incoming flights leading up to the tourist season is madness.
The Entry requirements also need scrapping as it has nothing to do with the latest Omicron (milder) wave and in light of refugees fleeing a war zone to safe countries with no papers this needs to be in place so no one is discriminated against i.e one rule for one and one rule for another!
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